Close to 50,000 students in haredi schools will be studying even though the State declared Independence Day as a national holiday, a day even the Arab sector's schools and institutions are closed.
The haredi schools for first to eighth graders receive up to 55% state funding and their decision to hold classes on Independence Day has enraged many elements within the education system that see the fact that classes are being held during the State's holiday as an act of defiance against the State's independence.
"Even the Arab sector's education system understands the meaning of the holiday, it is inconceivable that the Independence Day holiday is not respected," say educators. The criticism isn't aimed at Shas' Ma'ayan HaChinuch HaTorani haredi schools which will not hold classes on Independence Day.
"It isn't right that the Israeli education system is education a large population of children not to recognize the State and ignore its institutions," said one source from within the education system.
'Stop funding'"We are constantly focusing on the importance of tolerance and encouraging closer relations between the secular and haredi communities but while the haredim continue to flagrantly ignore the existence of the State, the gaps cannot be bridged."
The Director of Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel, Rabbi Uri Regev, called on the Education Ministry to make the necessity of a national holiday clear to the haredi education institutions and stop funding to those institutions which do not respect the national holiday.
"The act of ignoring Independence Day demonstrates both the anti-Zionist outlook of haredi Jewry and the contempt it shows for the laws of the land. The haredi leadership that demands that we respect its public's feelings and beliefs in every small way tramples roughly over Independence Day."
Oren Yehi-Shalom, the executive director of the Chinuch Yisraeli (Israeli Education) movement, added: "There is no reason why a student in a school that receives even one shekel from the State budget should alienate the State and ignore its day of independence."
The Education Ministry declined comment.
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